Post image for Springmeyer Brothers Renaissance Revival Dresser

Springmeyer Brothers Renaissance Revival Dresser

by John Werry on April 16, 2010

Springmeyer Brothers – Partners to John Henry Belter

Ever see a piece of furniture in the Renaissance Revival style with J. H. Belter’s name on it? I hadn’t until I saw this piece coming up for sale at Martin Auction Co. in Anna, IL. As most of you know, the Belter name is far more associated with the Rococo Revival than this style of furniture. The additional presence of the Springmeyer Brothers name on the stencil on this dresser provides a look into a slice of time immediately following Belter’s death and what the company produced after his direct association with J.H. Belter and Company ended.

History is sketchy, but from what I have gleaned from a few sources, Belter’s brother-in-law J.H. Springmeyer was listed in city directories as a furniture dealer after 1856 and became Belter’s partner.  1856 is the same year that Belter’s business name started having the word, “Company” following it,  the same year his bedstead patent was issued and the same year he moved from 547 to 522 Broadway.  Springmeyer’s cabinetmaker brothers joined the Belter business as partners around that time as well.

Belter became ill around 1863 and shortly after putting his will together, he died. According to the Magazine Antiques, September 1948 issue, the company continued under the J.H. Belter and Co. name until 1867 when the company went bankrupt. Artfact, however, states that the company name changed to Springmeyer Brothers in 1865.  The three Springmeyer brothers continued on as cabinetmakers in 1868 after the bankruptcy, but the business was soon sold to Blesson and Bolrath for $20,500.

That can only mean that this dresser would have been made between 1863 and 1867, since the label says “Late J.H. Belter”. More research would need to be done to see when this particular incarnation of their furniture stencils with both the Springmeyer and “Late” Belter names existed.  I have read of other stencil versions referring to the company as “Springmeyer Brothers, Successors to J.H. Belter and Company”.

Nonetheless, it is an eye-opener to see Belter’s Company name on a piece of Renaissance Revival furniture.

Thanks to 1881Victorian in the forum for pointing it out and Martin Auction for sharing the larger images with us.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

james conrad April 16, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Interesting story, ditto the piece. I have never seen a makers mark refer to a “late” maker. Gives one an understanding of the power of that name, even then.

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mario April 18, 2010 at 11:09 am

I would hardly call this Renaissance Revival. The elements relate to other Belter dressers, although it is not laminated. Springmeyer continued to make patented Belter furniture after JH’s demise as evidenced by period advertisements of the day.

A fresh to the market Springmeyer branded rosewood dresser appeared in a New Orleans auction in the fall of 2003 and later appeared in the collection of Dr. Milton Brindley of Kentucky.

Brindley’s assets were sold at a US Marshal’s Service sale at Mattox Auction on April 9 of this year. The dresser appears in the Mattox catalogue which is still online:

http://www.mattoxrealestate.com/beltercat2.pdf

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1881Victorian April 18, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Always interesting to watch a piece make the rounds on the auction circuit before finding a home. Thank you for filling in some of the back-story on this piece. Any word on what the hammer price was in April?

– Jason

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Evangeline May 3, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Neal Auction of New Orleans sold a very similar dresser: also with the Springmeyer stencil October 4, 2003 (lot 628) for $8,000. It was in “estate” condition, found in the basement of an Atlanta, GA house.

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